Opinion

Grant permit for one house per five acres

How ironic that just across the page from Mr. John L. Adams'

eloquent defense of the Treemont development (4/27/00) is a small but

gut-wrenching article from Olympia concerning the average annual loss

of 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat to human use in Washington state since

the 1980s.

Here are several important and alarming points omitted in this

letter, but worthy of consideration: The reduced number of 194 houses

still means 194 septic systems on a virtual clear cut above two fragile

waterways and their surrounding wetlands and farmlands. No one at the

decision-making level seems to be remarking the potential catastrophic effect on

the numerous existing private wells on this ridge and/or the now-clean aquifer.

No state-of-the-art technology will protect this ecosystem if any of

these proposed septics fail, or are caused to fail by landslide or earthquake.

The majority of this ridge, composed of layers of glacial rock and several

kinds of slide-prone clay, historically does not perk, and the majority of

existing septics in the same area are above-ground, mound systems. Where

will our water come from, and who will pay for new wells if our current

wells become contaminated? King County?

The proposed "buffers" are, in fact, and according to Mr. Johns' own

map, actually three very small clusters of trees on the uphill side of the edge

of the development, quite insignificant in the face of losing those nearly

250 acres of lush second-growth forest habitat. The "buffers" are clearly

strategically placed to preserve the "view."

The proposed state-of-the-art stormwater and runoff pipeline

substantially exceeds the normally permitted length of one-quarter mile.

The developer claims that the water flowing from this pipeline will have

no impact on the flood-prone Snoqualmie River or the salmon-bearing

Patterson Creek. It is incredible to think that

any study costing any amount of money could accurately predict such a

rosy picture when the farmers that now live and work just below the proposed

development can and do affirm otherwise.

At the King County Council meeting last Monday, Mr. Johns,

Port Blakely's attorney, also said that diverting water from Patterson

Creek would not have any significant impact because it pretty much dries up in

the summer anyway! Ask the farmers who live and work along Patterson

Creek if this is an accurate statement!

And, as disturbing as I find the above points, and as a resident of

the ridge in question (in a house on 5 acres, conforming to rural zoning),

I find the lack of vision apparent in the granting of so many exceptions

to rules and zoning variances designed to protect such rural and sensitive

areas truly disheartening. In many recent Fall City community meetings

the overwhelming sentiment expressed was in favor of maintaining the

rural character of this area.

To allow this high-density, Klahanie-style development to go

forward is to completely ignore the fact that it will forever destroy the

clear Rural-Urban boundary currently designated by the King County's

Growth Management plan. It will then only be a matter of time before the

working farmers in the Valley lose more precious topsoil to flooding, and until

the already-struggling salmon population disappears from local water.

Please, King County, have the vision to say no to the short-sighted and

profit-motivated 194 houses.

Grant permits only for the "one house to five acre" alternate plan

proposed by the developer himself, that will allow us to preserve both our

way of life and the legacy we must leave to the generations that will follow us!

Carol Siipola Chittum

Windsong Farm

Fall City

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